Monday, 18 November 2013

Ben Salmon guest article (alternative Taudar list)

Hey all

I’m Ben Salmon, I played against 60% of the DoG team at Mayhem and I spoke to Rich about doing a guest article about my army that was talked about during Podcast 25.

I guess I should list the army below:

Tau (Farsight Enclave) / Eldar

HQ1 – Commander, 2x burst cannon, drone controller, 2x gundrones  (137pts)

HQ2 – Autarchjetbike, mantle of the laughing god, fusion blaster (135pts)


Troops 1 – XV8 Crisis Suit Team: 1x suit, bonding knife ritual (23pts)

Troops 2 – XV8 Crisis Suit Team: 1x suit, bonding knife ritual (23pts)

Troops 3 – XV8 Crisis Suit Team: 3x suit, bonding knife ritualall 3 have 2x burst cannons, all three have two gun drones, one has a drone controller (209pts)

Troops 4 – XV8 Crisis Suit Team: 2x suit, bonding knife ritual, 2x fusion blasters (106pts)

Troops 5- Windrider Jetbike Squadron, 3x jetbikes (51pts)

Troops 6- Windrider Jetbike Squadron, 6x jetbikes, 2 splinter cannons (122pts)


Fast Attack 1 – Warpspider Squadron, x 10 spiders (190pts)

Fast Attack 2- Drone Squadron: 8x Gun Drones (112pts)

Heavy Support 1 - XV88 Broadside Team, x3 broadsides, bonding knife ritual, all replace their heavy rail rifles for high yield missile pods, 3 have early warning override systems. (213pts)

Heavy Support - XV88 Broadside Team, x3 broadsides, bonding knife ritual, all replace their heavy rail rifles for high yield missile pods, all have early warning override systems. (213pts)

Heavy Support 3 - XV88 Broadside Team, x2 broadsides, bonding knife ritual, all replace their heavy rail rifles for high yield missile pods, all have early warning override systems. (142pts)



 Right, the first thing I’m going to say is I hate anti-tank weapons. I hate the fact that I have to take them in case I fight tanks, I hate that they are so expensive, appalling rate of fireand cost a fortune more if you want to reliably hit with them. My thinking is that it’s anti-infantry that wins games. Unless you are playing Scouring or Big guns where tanks can claim…

I’d like to briefly discuss broadsides. You may have noticed that I have 9. The real strength in the heavy salvo missile pod compared to the rail rifle, isn’t so much that it’s got 4 shots not 1, it’s the fact that it complements the smart missile system so well. If you have the rail gun and SMS you’re going to be thinking I want to fire the anti-infantry and the tank gun on a tank or monster etc. The beauty of the double missile is that you really don’t care what you’re firing at! I fired at an awful lot of night scythes over the weekend and firing the str 5’s in the air was great, the fact that they ignored jinx really paid off in one game vs. flyers) 6’s to glance no save. Obviously you’re relying on the main gun to do the dirty work, but the side arm does compliment it. Remember all 8 shots are twin linked, so they really can serve as anti-air.

Anyway, so you can fire them at their wave serpents, rhino’s, flyers etc. But once they’ve run out of targets like that you can turn them on infantry/troops/bikes whatever and you never feel that you’re wasting an anti-tank gun on a dire avenger. You’re firing 24 shots, for 18 hits, for 15 wounds, 7 are ap4, that’s 7 gone, + 3.5 more from the smart missiles. Oh that’s a dead squad of 10.

Anyhow, I guess what I’m trying to say, the advantage the Heavy Salvo has over the rifle isn’t that it has 3 more shots, it’s the fact it has 7 more shots!



Right, so that briefly discusses my preferred type of firepower, the type that can be turned on pretty much whatever and be pretty good at it. My army is built from exceptional str  5-7 shooting. I have in a nutshell:

Commander & Drones: 27 str5 hits  

Burst cannon crisis: 21 str 5 hits

Broadsides: 81 str 5 hits, 81 str 7 hits

Warpspiders: 14 str 6 hits

Now str 5 in the current metagame can deal with an awful lot of stuff, because nothing is AP3 or less you’re a lot less scared about things like wraiths. They’re just 2 wound marines, and you force the saves on them. Str 5 can glance scythes, do a number on monstrous creature.  Princes are onlystr 5, if I can ground one with the jet bikes or something and then go with the drones that’s 13.5 armour saves on a prince!

The abundance of str 7 lets me deal with serpents (I went up against two serpent lists) and I hope Luke won’t mind me saying, both sighed when they saw my army. It shoots downscythes , wounds MC’s on 2-3’s and generally rocks.

Now, I do have 2 crisis suits with melta guns and an autarchwith a melta gun. Luke did express surprise that I didn’t have a lance on him, I’ll be honest it was the last change and I hadn’t time to play test it properly. But why an Autarch over aFarseer? Well 90% of my army is already twin linked meaning that the ability to guide stuff only really applies to my warp spiders.  My army counteracts the fact that it’s gotsuch short range on most of its units, by being effectively adeepstrike alpha force. Typically, I deploy the 9 broadsides forming a defensive firebase, and then hide my MONAT without guns and maybe a bike unit. Then drop all that strength 5, the warpspiders str 6-7 in and the melta guns. Theautarch gave me that reliability of coming in on a 2+ which was really handy. Now I am considering taking a Farseer with mantle, but I am thinking I might well just take 3 powers on telepathy and send him about hopefully with hallucegins or shriek and play him really offensively.

Oh the single crisis suits without guns rock, 23 points for a troops choice who can easily hide behind LOS cover, thisfrees up my bikes and harder troops to actually go into the middle as I don’t need them on the home objective. I looked at missile pod’s to play the Jump shoot jump game but it was too expensive for little return.


No mark alights and no riptide

Right, for the same reason that I haven’t bothered to prescience up my army, I didn’t see much point in M-lights. See, the broadsides get 18hits, paying for M-lights takes them up to 21 hits. 3 hits (1.5 str 7 and 1.5 str 5) is hardly amazing. Equally, my commander hits on 2’s. The Burst cannon unit could benefit being only bs 3. But having m-lights to boost one unit seemed poor to me.

Now… for an assimilation of the reasons in this article I will commit tau heresy and say I don’t like Riptides. Don’t get me wrong, I see the advantages of them and have play tested them. But they just don’t do enough.   I don’t like units which are pro-amateur which in my mind all blasts are to a degree. It forces them to spread out, and if they’re caught next to each other than good for you. But, all taking lots of blasts does is force your opponent to deploy with max spaces between their units which means you both finish your game on turn 3-4. I think this was touched upon with the daemon opponent in the pod cast. From what I’ve seen the riptide comes into his own if you can get the M-light support to go oh he’s auto hitting and ignores cover. But in my world he’d be a liability and a disappointment. My burst cannon crisis unit can put 21 hits, or 14 wounds on a T4 unit, they don’t care if you’re in cover and they are a troops choice at similar points.



How did it all go!

Game 1: Sam Cron/Drake

He had 3 scythes, 1 drake, 2 nurgle obliterators, one massive unit of wraiths with a destroyer lord, 3 barges.

It was pitch battle for 5 objectives I think. I deployed a broad side unit for every 24 inches of the deployment zone, (left –middle- right). He deployed everything in his back left corner. I went first and moved forwards to snap fire the broadsides doing not much. He moved forwards with his army.

I came in from reserve with mostly everything. I put the commander behind the wraith unit and the drone infront of it forcing him to have to go one way or another.  The fusions came down and blew up a barge, the autarch I think stunned and took off the shielding of another. The combined effort of the 2broadside units in range and the drones, and crisis unit wiped the wraiths off the board.

His flyers came on, but as I’d got to jetpack move nothing was close together to make heldraking really mean. I shot down 1 scythe with intercept. The drake ate half of the commanders drones, while vector striking the autarch andtaking 2 wounds of him.

His obliterators came down in my right flank away from the action and started harassing my broadsides, my bikes and MONATS were hiding behind LOS terrain.

My spiders came down behind the heldrake, getting a lucky 6 to pen and then blowing it up! His barges had now been left to their fate, the autarch killed the last one, while the barge without shielding was glanced off the board by drones.

Then I sort of chased scythes around the board until the end of the game. He had one sole warrior left on an objective (which was contested by the autarch at the end of the game) oh and maybe one obliterator. Either way, it was a 17-3 win for me so I was quite happy. In this game, I was fighting it on my termsbecause I could deepstrike, I had too many troops and his troops weren’t safe from me. I think flyers are much better at hunting troops when A. they’re not jetbikes and B. they’re not so many of them like Mayhem encourages.


Game 2 was vs. Ashley Homewood

He had a load of wave serpents, a unit of war walkers with bright lances, some wraith guard, some bikes and a mantlefarseer, oh and 3 units of 6 spiders.

I deployed my army fairly typically, but put the bikes in frontof the broadsides as I had no cover of my own. He killed 5 man bikes, but had some bad luck and chose first blood (finishing the 6 bikes) rather than killing a few broadsides when he shot with the walkers. I moved forwards with 1/3 sides in a unit, meaning that the back two were in range of the whole unit and not just the front walker. Snap fired with one, main fired with 2 and killed all 3. I then shot the other two at wave serpents taking a HP off one. His turn 2 he shot at me with serpents and didn’t do a great deal; the spiders tried to take my flank and killed one side.

My turn 2, the sides wiped the spiders out. Ash said that the abundance of smart missiles made it really hard for the spiders who had nowhere safe to hide after they’d come out, shot and then disappeared.

My deepstriking force killed a serpent, wiped the troops inside. What had happened now , was that we’d both deployed in curves both about 24-30 inches wide. I’d cut Ash’s in half, and then fled back. I rolled an 11 on all 3 deepstrikiing units, making me completely out of range from the Wraith Guard or any other units trying to pursue.

At this point the only thing Ash had left with any range on it was the cannons in the bike units and 1 serpent. I ran away mydeepstriking force to the other side of the board, and sat there for 3 turns firing smart missiles at him as he huddled behind Line of Sight terrain unable to break cover without being wiped out. He had the spirit seer and 5 wraith guard at the end , I smart missiled pretty much everything else, the wave serpent made a valiant attempt for freedom but was str 7’d off the board. I lost the autarch and I think 1 broadside unit. 20-0 victory.


Game 3 was against Tailor’s Cron/Drake

Was Big Guns, and again I deployed first against my will, he then stole the initiative. I did what I always do, deployed in area terrain and reserved the rest. Tailor deployed way back and took the objectives that were closer to him. I reserved down and did okay, managing to take out the shielding of a barge and kill a few wraiths. I considered firing the last sides unit at the wraith and hoping to take the 3rd hp off the Barge with an EMP grenade from the autarch, but I took the First blood and HS point by overkilling it with the sides.

In this game it was brutally close quarter, lots of assaults, lots of point blank shooting. I rolled badly for bits, Tailors lord split off from the last wraith which bit the overwatch from the crisis unit, the lord then charged in and got its head kicked in. It then didn’t get up. The heldrake ate it’s way through most of my troops and vector striked the autarch to death. Turn 5 I contested a few with the bikes, and claimed a few objectives. Tailor couldn’t get out of his scythes where he’d like to without being intercepted. End of turn 5 I was winning  bysome way. In a rather impressive turn 6, Tailor terrified one jet bike unit off an objective, forced a contesting unit to run away from 25% casualties, and heldraked another.

I started my turn 6, needing to kill the annihilation barge with glances to win. Needed 2 sixes, rolled the hits, rolled the armour pen, 12 odd dice, as the dust cleared there was only one 6 there. It ended with me having first blood and lots of killed HS, Tailor had an objective more, for a draw.  It was a very close game, and was quite intense as it was a close range shooting army vs. a close range combat/shooting army. Was very cool, with no real battle lines, just lots of skirmishes all over the board.


Game 4 was vs Steve Attoe

I did what I always do, and Steve kept a blob in reserve. My spiders ended up being caught with a bad scatter and assaulted by a diminished power blob, they hit and ran out and went after the manticore killing it.

When the vendetta’s and a blob came on, I intercepted everything at the guard blob and not the vendetta’s. I was therefore able to get some decent amount of kills on the guard blob which the combined effort of the commander and friends and the crisis suits managed to wipe out. Saint from that unit failed a charge, and as she was still with 10 guard at the time she couldn’t use fleet (was a 4 inch charge or so).

Unfortunately due, to time restraints we had to end it on turn 4. So I did my best, turboboosting onto objectives etc. Steve, got out of his vendetta’s, and saint killed the autarch who was contesting the 4pt objective. Ended with Steve winning it withlinebreaker! But I had killed a vendetta, most of a power blob, all of a power blob, downed saint once, and a manticore. I’d lost a few broadsides they spent the game going to ground when being shot up by vendetta’sthey did quite well passing a decent amount of 3+’s (area terrain). The autarch, some bikes, and a lot of the crisis suits. Could have been anyone’sgame going into turn 5 and 6 but we had to end it early which gives the advantage to the guy going 2nd.

Yeah ended 9-11 for me


Game 5 was against Luke

I deployed my fire base in area terrain around a tower. He deployed his war warlkers 43 inches away. I then moved backwards! Relic in the middle.

He shot everything at the autarch who was bravely taking on the army by himself! Though he was hiding from 2/4 of the wave serpents which is how he didn’t die!

Warpspiders came down killing 1 unit of war walkers, drones + commander came down also killing another unit of war walkers. The Crisis suit tried to land on the relic but landed a bit short.

Luke killed the spiders and a few drones and the autarch.

I piled all my bikes, the crisis suits and any other troopschoice I had lying about onto that relic. With one MONAT behind the tower on my home objective. Luke brought down everything but one crisis suit, (they’d been passing it from unit to unit, and moving in assault phases etc.  That crisis suit managed to get behind the tower. Where I breathed a sigh of relief!

Having lost the war walkers Luke had nothing that could touch the sides and he didn’t really try. But now he was pursuing after the relic. He had to bring the serpents into Broadside range which really hurt him. His turn 5, he had one operational serpent and 2 stunned ones. He charged one broadside unit with the farseer on mantle but forgot about supporting fire and was brought down with some lucky smart missiles ignoring cover. Game ended turn 5 for a 14-6 win for me he contested my objective with bikes, so I had the relic and first blood against a home objective and linebreaker.


Final Score: 14+20+10+9+14 = 67

Thoughts: I was thrilled at how the army did, as it was all a bit experimental. I will add however that the team mechanics definitely worked in DoG’s favour. As you mentioned in podcast, because you dominated the top 4 slot, it meant board 1 was against ranked 1 and 5, board 2 was 2nd vs 6. As the guy on board 2 for most of day two, it did feel like you were getting comparatively easy games which let you wrack up the massive point scores while me and Kieran Ready were having to play people with much more points than us. Not only that, after I’d just drawn a game, I was STILL on board 2 with no chance to go off and pick up some lighter points on the lower tables. I think Ben who came 3rd was never on the top tables? He certainly wasn’t for the last game but surged up with a 20-0 win.

That said, I totally get you don’t want to fight each other, but when you’re good enough to dominate the top 4-5 it really pushes the competition out of the fight accentuating your advantage.


Other notes:

I couldn’t help but feel the jet bikes are actually TOO good. Because they’re so good at the objective game, they get an awful lot of hate and even keeping them in reserve they tended to die rather brutally.

The second observation is that while my deepstriking force hit hard it didn’t have the power to wipe someone line, so I found myself playing a hit and run game of crippling their key units then running into the middle where if he wanted to follow he’d be going into broadside range.

I did notice that most opponents deployed 40 inches or so away from my line which is why I’ve been considering a few changes. The first is to find points for a couple seeker missiles on my broadsides, if I swop the autarch for farseer this lets me guide them. So turn 1. If they force me to go first and deploy a load of wave serpents 40inches away, I can let them have half a dozen twin linked krak missiles at 70 inch range. Really capitalising on them not having a jinx save too, I guess the same applies vs. deamon or tyranids being able to ap3 the flying MC’s before they go into the air would be really useful. The second option is to replace the bikes and the spiders with 2 wave serpents of my own. This gives me even more strength 7 fire, which ignores cover, this is huge. Firing the serpents into the air at flyers isn’t a bad option, basically 8 chances for a scatter laser to hit making the serpent twin linked. Str 7 ignoring jinx scares flyers and it also solves the range problem of people trying to hide out of side range. I’m going to miss the jetbikes but they rarely survived to the end anyway and 2 serpents and 8 broadsides could be really formidable.


Anyway, thanks for reading my essay on Tau and thanks to the guys at DoG for hosting. See ya all about!!



  1. Good read dude, great performance from a list that is not the archetypal TauDar.. though let's face it, it has the hallmarks - Bike mounted Mantle HQ, Jetbikes and either Hawks or Spiders.
    With the exception of Broadside spam I do love the Tau elements and will certainly consider tweaks to my own lists based on what you are putting forward here.

    Bit lost on some of your maths though at one point.. assume it's a typo...
    "My army is built from exceptional str 5-7 shooting. I have in a nutshell:
    Broadsides: 81 str 5 hits, 81 str 7 hits"
    With 9 Broadsides you are getting (9*4)+(9*4) shots... or 36+36 = 72 max.. you are getting 162 shots?
    It's only a little point as we all know what you are getting at - it's a fuck load of shots!

    In fact, I'm busting out my Broadsides tomorrow now in homage.... :)

  2. Great article dude - Its a good point about the team event.

    Mayhem is the only tournament that has this setup so for us its a real breath of fresh air - Everywhere else we normally play another DoG member atleast 2 out of 5/6 games so don't worry!

    Great to see you being more active on the scene.

  3. Nice work. I really like your list, it's significantly different to that which normally dominates, but it seems to work well. One potential problem that I could see your list running into would actually be a multiple riptide list. They could sit outside the range of your broadsides, and if there was a buff commander or other buffing mechanism, drop instant deathing, ap-2 and possibly cover ignoring hits on your broadsides. Plus, your deep strikers are not really configured to take out T6 2+ save models, as it takes almost the whole firepower of you drone unit to wound a riptide once. The warp spiders would help, but not enough, imo. How do you plan to deal with them?

    1. Not sure that would be a problem for him if he's got three units of broadsides all spaced out on his deployment line and the other guy has multiple riptides. He'd have to put them on the board edge and you'd be able to hit him turn 2 if he did and you'd still be able to snap shoot them with re-rolls on turn 1.